Everybody always talks about how big and amazing Indian weddings are. Now I find even myself talking about it. In the past those weddings have been a fraud to me. So often I couldn’t sleep at night because the drums of some wedding were echoing between the cement walls of the lovely neighbourhood I live in. Even worse is it to be woken up by some firework you can’t watch. But this time I was actually to see a wedding thanks to my dear colleague Vinod. (My colleagues are reading this; how could I not mention him?)
I didn’t actually see the whole wedding. The entire celebration is stretched over three days and not even and Indian company gives you three days off to attend a wedding from somebody you don’t even know. And I don’t dread it. It has been nice to spend one evening at the wedding and it was nice to leave as well. Mainly because it is cold in Delhi and the wedding took place outside. We were all freezing instead maybe those few who knew the lucky couple well enough to feel warmth in their hearts.

crazy dance indian wedding

Nothing like European weddings

Indian weddings really are nothing like weddings I have attended before. It is more comparable to a German or Dutch street festival. It is outside, there are many people, cheap food and drinks, and somewhere happens a ritual that get about as much attention as the cultural program at the Oktoberfest. That is probably exaggerating. But indeed so many rituals take place that nobody is actually following all of them. And since not everybody actually knows the people marrying it does really have some similarities to a festival. A non-alcohol and vegetarian festival. Now I lost the Germans.

Many Many Rituals

Groom or bride?? #india #wedding

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The groom will arrive first. A whole army of musicians and dancing folks around him. I have seen many grooms riding white horses through the streets but this one was a little more special. He was sitting on a coach pulled by two white horses. When one simply isn’t enough. This is actually still kind of modest for India considering that some people here use white helicopters instead. Not every prince comes on a horse. He was sitting there, money all over him, and I was surprised to see him with a woman and some kids. Of course that was not his wife and certainly not his kids, and since she was anyway giving her phone more attention them him I see no reason for jealousy for the happy bride. At the end of this parade the rich old guys will throw some money for the musicians and this is obviously the moment every homeless kid of the area has been waiting for. Lured by the music they have been waiting patiently and now they start running into the crowed and start little fights with the musicians until they get pushed and carried away.
When the groom finally manages to get to the wedding location the women won’t let him in. Her sisters and lots of other women, or this is a seriously big family, demand money from him to enter the wedding. There is a lot of money involved in that Indian wedding. They start bargaining for like half an hour and everybody else leave the scene to get some snacks or another drink.



groom bride indian weddingShortly after he finally actually manages to enter the wedding grounds she will arrive as well. She walks in very slowly and needs to repeat that three times until the camera man has her arrival from different angles including a close up of her ankles. The ankles angle, so to speak. She looks stunning, but it needs to be added that many of the other women are dressed up just as much and it would surely be possible to mistake which women is marrying. Maybe it’s just for the best that she didn’t wear a veil. Lots of drama happens and sooner or rather later the couple finds itself on a exalted platform where they hang garlands over each other before the platform rotates and it begins to rain rose petals. So here they are: Finally together, on an exalted rotating platform, with roses raining down on them and a crowd cheering happily. I was so sure they would kiss. But nope. Not on an Indian wedding. They are just called at to make sure they look the right way into the camera.

#cute #kids #india #wedding

A photo posted by Andreas Finzel (@andreasfinzel) on

So much is happening

At some point they will walk 7 times around something and they might just as well do that seven times to give the camera man six chances to screw up the focus. But that happens on another day of the wedding so I didn’t see it. But I did meet Indian that spoke German. A very exited husband that loved to practice his German and a less excited wife that wished it practised enough German to find a polite way to make him leave the conversation. Looking back I am still surprised that it happened outside in the cold, that there where so many people and most of all how less they cared. I still wonder how many of the guest will never have spoke to the bride nor the groom. I rather fancy the European weddings where there is so less people that I can check who dared not to bring a present. Indian wedding are a feast for the neighbourhood and possibility to show off your wealth and influence. And it definitely is a very amazing and joyful time and surely the happy couple enjoys every minute of it. Though she might have gotten cold feet.



Soundtrack of my life: Regina Spektor – Fidelity